Setting: mid season 3
Chloe could hear the faint but constant drumming sound coming from the Touch's office before she reached the door. She groaned in dread, fearing that it was another band hoping she'd give them a rave review that would put them on the road to fame and fortune.
She opened the door and was surprised by what she saw.
A short, scruffy looking man with a beard was sitting at her computer, tapping at its top with a pair of drumsticks, smiling to himself with his eyes closed. A tall, olive skinned woman in a black leather cat suit was leaning against the window, arms crossed, eyes looking strait at Chloe. A tall, older looking man was standing with his back to her, apparently examining the Wall or Wired with keen interest.
"I am impressed, Miss Sullivan." He said without looking round, "You have the makings of a fine reporter."
"Who are you people?" Chloe blinked, "What are you doing here?"
"My name is Elijah Snow." The man looked over his shoulder; "The woman doing her best to intimidate you is Miss Jakita Wagner, while the piece of human filth at your computer is The Drummer." He smiled, "And before you asked, that appears to be his real name."
"That answers the who." Chloe crossed her arms, "But not the why?"
"Quite true." Snow turned to face the young reporter, "I have been an admirer of your work for some time now: the, shall we say 'unusual' individuals and events that seems to centre around this town and its inhabitants interest us."
"We walk the world in search of strangeness and wonder, uncovering things others wish were left covered. You could call us mystery archaeologists: explorers of the planet's secret history. We want to know the things everyone else is willing to ignore so we can understand them, and if needs be, fight them."
"You see them as a threat?"
"No, not necessarily, but it is better to be safe than sorry."
"So why the face to face?"
"One moment." Snow turned to The Drummer, "Are we clear?"
"Sure: there were a few bugs in the walls and some data taps in the computer, but nothing within five meters is still working." The scruffy looking man smiled, "But she's got some seriously strange stuff on her computer…"
"Another time, Drums." Snow turned back to Chloe, "I want to make you an offer…"
"One I can't refuse?" The young reporter raised an eyebrow.
"You can refuse it if you wish, and you'll never hear from us again." Snow crossed his arms, "But accept it, and you'll have the full support of our agency at your disposal 24/7."
"Miss Sullivan, it is no secret that your farther recently lost his job with LutherCorp. How would you like 1-million dollars a year, for life, no mater how long you work for us?"
"That's a lot of money…" Chloe's eyes went wide.
"We can afford it." Snow smiled, "You don't have to do anything illegal: just keep us up to date on all the unusual happenings in this town. I don't want the stuff you're willing to risk printing: I want everything."
"There are some things that are a little, personal."
"I can understand that." Snow nodded, "As long as we get anything important or noteworthy, I'm willing to trust your judgement."
"Just who do you work for?"
"We represent an organisation called Planetary. We have offices and agents all over the world. We record the history no one else knows, and try and make sure tomorrow follows today."
"Sounds very cloak and dagger."
"One day, when you're old enough, I'll show you what the world is really like." Snow grinned, a slightly dangerous look in his eye, "Do you accept?"
"I don't have much to lose, if the pay's as good as you claim." Chloe nodded, "Where do a sign?"
"On the back of this." Snow handed over an American Express gold card with Chloe's name on the front, "There's the agreed million dollars in the account, and any expenses resulting from your work for us will be refunded in full, provided you fill out the paperwork." He also handed over a business card with the word 'Planetary' embossed on the front, and a phone number printed below, "We'll send you an encrypted cellular phone that you can use to contact us as needs be."
"Thanks…" Chloe nodded, stunned by how quickly her world had changed.
"There is one other thing." Snow stopped on his way to the door, "We know you've been investigating Jenny Sparks. I ask you to stop."
"Why?" Chloe asked, her reporter's senses flaring, "Who was she?"
"She was someone who did more to keep the world safe than anyone else. In the end, she gave her life so that we'd be here to talk about her today. You can keep looking if you like, but I doubt you'll find much, and may not like what you do."
"I'll take that under advisement." Chloe nodded.
"I think we need to talk, Miss Sullivan…" Lionel Luther appeared at the other door and stopped dead in his tracks, "Elijah."
"Lionel." Snows eyes narrowed, and Chloe felt the temperature in the room drop as the two men glared at each other. Jakita Wagner tensed viably, ready to fight.
"What are you doing here?" Lionel's voice was a whisper.
"None of your business." Snow's fists where clenched tightly, "I know all about your past dealing with Miss Sullivan, but as of now she works or me: I catch you bugging her home, office or computer again, and I'll tell Anna Hark where to find you. I believe the two of you have a little unfinished business…"
"Stay out of my affaires Elijah…"
"Don't even try and threaten me, Luther: you're out classed." Snow turned to Chloe, "Good day." He walked out the door, Jakita snarling at Lionel before following him.
"Something wrong, Mr Luther?" Chloe couldn't help but smile at the look on her tormentors face.
"You have no idea what's going on Miss Sullivan." Lionel straitened his jacket, regaining some of his composure, "But you seem to pick your allies wisely."
"Believe me my dear, if you knew the truth, you'd be scared too: you have no idea what you've gotten yourself into."
"Maybe, but it wouldn't be the first time." Chloe pointed to the door, "Goodbye, Mr Luther."
Junior1985: if you're reading this, the two strangers in Coffee and Gossip were Dr Angela Spica, a.k.a. The Engineer, and Shen Li-men, a.k.a. Swift, natives of the WildStorm universe, and members of The Authority. To mesh with the Smallville universe, I had them act a little more covertly than they normally do, and work for Planetary.